Advanced Worldview Analysis - Lesson 17

The Religious Left

Christians ought to care about poverty and oppression. People who hold differing economic and social theories propose very different approaches and solutions to these problems.

Ronald Nash
Advanced Worldview Analysis
Lesson 17
Watching Now
The Religious Left

The Worldview of the Religious Left
Part 1

I.  Introduction

A.  Foundation for Christian Compassion

1.  Christians ought to care about poverty and oppression.

2.  Christians need to be grounded in sound economics and social theory.

B.  Religious Right? or Religious Left?


II.  Three Main Concentrations of the Religious Left

A.  Mainline Protestant

B.  Roman Catholic - Maryknoll Order

C.  Evangelical - Our focus


III.  Historical Digression of the Main Concentrations


IV.  The New Left vs. The Old Left

A.  Forms alliances with Liberals vs. Views liberals as the enemy

B.  Workers are the revolutionary class vs. Intellectuals are the revolutionary class

C.  Workers are exploited vs. Workers are alienated

D.  Industrial socialism vs. Post-industrial socialism

E.  Gradualism vs. Revolutionary change

F.  Central planning and control vs. Decentralized decisions

G.  Liberals want to free others vs. Radicals want to free themselves

H.  Soviet distortion of Marx (Lenin) vs. Discovery of the real Marx (Marcuse)

I.  Realism vs. Utopianism

J.  Serves the People vs. Serves to live authentically

K.  Work is necessary (always conflict) vs. Work can be abolished (no conflict)

L.  Intellectual vs. Anti-intellectual and anti-theoretical

M.  Ideology vs. Style

N.  Vanguardist and elitist vs. Populist

O.  State capitalism (socialism) vs. Anarcho-socialism

  • Discussion of the content of a worldview and the criteria used to evaluate worldviews.

  • Discussion of liberalism and conservatism, and statism and anti-statism.

  • Political systems fall along a continuum between the extremes of anarchism and totalitarianism.

  • People favoring statism support extensive government involvement in education and social programs.

  • From a biblical point of view, statism is evil.

  • Discussion of justice on an individual and corporate level.

  • An economy based on capitalism has much less government involvement than an economy based on socialism.

  • Interventionism is a capitalistic economic system in which government gets involved to allow free exchange within a framework of laws.

  • Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of capitalism.

  • Two basic concepts of economics are limited resources and the choices we make that reflect our values.

  • Marxism is an economic system based on the idea of a class struggle with the goal of a classless society.

  • Article from The Free Market

  • The Bible and Socialism, Moral Defense of Capitalism

  • We are responsible to be a good steward of the wealth God gives us to manage.

  • Some of the root causes of poverty are government, social and religious systems.

  • Liberation theology is an ideology promoted by people trained in Marxism. True liberation theology delivers people from tyranny, poverty and sin.

  • Christians ought to care about poverty and oppression. People who hold differing economic and social theories propose very different approaches and solutions to these problems.

  • Discussion of the differences between evangelical liberals and conservatives.

  • Guest Lecturer, Alejandro Moreno-Morrison discussing the inflation of rights.

  • Guest Lecturer, Alejandro Moreno-Morrison discusses legal positivism.

  • A balanced approach toward environmentalism is needed because it can be a serious threat to individual liberty.

  • Discussion of how people work in a capitalistic system to address environmental concerns.

  • The public school system in the United States has fostered functional illiteracy, cultural illiteracy, and moral/spiritual illiteracy.

  • Discussion of the pros and cons of setting up a voucher system to fund the education system.

In this class, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of advanced worldview analysis, starting with an introduction to the concept of a worldview and its importance. You will explore the various components that make up a worldview, including epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and anthropology. The course delves into analyzing different worldviews such as theism, deism, naturalism, nihilism, and existentialism. Finally, you will learn about the role of the church and individual believers in engaging with culture and responding to worldview challenges, as well as strategies for effective communication of your own worldview.

Recommended Books

Poverty and Wealth: Why Socialism Doesn't Work

Poverty and Wealth: Why Socialism Doesn't Work

Nash shows that market economies lead inevitably to abundance and political freedom because they are based on reality.

Poverty and Wealth: Why Socialism Doesn't Work
Why the Left Is Not Right: The Religious Left : Who They Are and What They Believe

Why the Left Is Not Right: The Religious Left : Who They Are and What They Believe

Just in time for this year's elections come this close and well-researched look at the ideas and activities of the religious left. Nash identifies the major players in...

Why the Left Is Not Right: The Religious Left : Who They Are and What They Believe

Dr. Ronald Nash
Advanced Worldview Analysis
The Religious Left
Lesson Transcript


[00:00:02] I want to talk to you tonight about the religious left. What I have on the screen is a little overhead that gives some justification for talking about the religious left. Maybe I've shown you this overhead before. It's called the two sides of Christian compassion for the Poor. One side of Christian compassion for the poor says we ought to care about poverty and oppression, for Christians to ignore poverty and oppression, for Christians to be silent about poverty and oppression is sin. We ought to care about it. But there is a second side to Christian compassion for the poor. And I think you've heard me say this before. Christians need to be grounded in economics and social theory, because if we don't know the proper foundations of Christian social theory and economics, we risk doing more harm to the poor than good. I guess I probably said that before. Now I want to ask you a question as I turn off the overhead for a moment. How many of you have heard that phrase or the words the religious right, either on television or on the radio or in the movie, Raise your hands. All 500 people have raised their hand. You've all heard. All right. Now, let me ask you this. When you've heard people talk about the religious right, is that a complimentary term? No. No. Do you all agree it's always negative? Isn't it the case that whether it's CBS News or NPR or take your pick, NBC. Americans are being warned that the religious right is the most dangerous group of people in America. In fact, recently somebody I think it was people from the Democratic Party compared religious right Christians to the al Qaeda terrorist organization. Boy, that's that's being objective, isn't it? But that's, of course, just Democratic strategy to try and terrify everybody who's afraid.


[00:02:13] But you want to know the real image or the real picture of a religious right person. It's some grandmother or some Christian housewife who simply wants her children or her grandchildren to grow up in a country where everybody honors God and God's word and God's law. Really frightening people, then, aren't they? The religious right? Now, another question. Have any of you ever heard. Outside of my presence. Have any of you ever heard the term the religious left? I'm just getting a lot of shaking of the head that me know. Now I want to tell you why. Do any of you think a religious left exists in America? Yeah. Everybody shaking their head. Of course, if there really is a religious left, why don't we ever hear about it? Here is the reason. Because the vast majority of people in the media. Television, print news, radio, news, movies, the entertainment business. They are themselves part of the political left. But they don't think of themselves as liberals or leftists or radicals or socialists or Marxists. They think of themselves as moderates. So when they look at our liberal Congress, when they look at the liberal movie industry or the liberal communications industry, all they see are other moderates. And of course, what the word moderate connotes here, among other things, is open mindedness, brilliance, intelligence, lack of bias. Well, I'm sorry, there is at least one book. Well, let me be honest. There's only one book that has been written that tells the truth about the religious left in America. And what do you know? The author of that book must be a relative of mine. Oh, it is. I know him very well. The book is the present title of the book is Why the Left is Not Right.


[00:04:30] It will be republished later this year under the title it should have had in the first place the plain old religious Left. Okay. Academic Renewal Press. Harvard wanted it, but they got in first. Yeah, that's the way it goes. Now, what I have here on the screen are the three major versions of the religious left in the United States of America. And it starts, first of all, with mainline Protestant liberalism during the 1930s, forties, fifties. And from then on, when hasn't the mainline Protestant denominations been part of the religious left? Let me tell you how this started. You all, I'm sure, have some remembrance of how. Conservative and evangelical. The mainline Protestant denominations were prior to the Civil War. Even the Episcopal Church of America believe the gospel and preach the gospel. But after the Civil War, various kinds of liberalism began to creep in to the big Methodist church, North and South. The Big Presbyterian Church, North and South. The Disciples of Christ. And the major Lutheran denominations. A lot of these have consolidated since then until finally, by the time you get to the 1930s, the leaders of most of the big mainline Protestant churches Methodist, Presbyterian, American Baptist, that's Northern Baptist and so on, they had lost all confidence in, number one, the Bible. And number two, the teachings of the Bible. And number three, the Gospel. They'd lost all confidence in it until you reach the point where many leaders of mainline Protestantism didn't know a thing about God, didn't know what to believe about Jesus, except he was not the Son of God. He did not rise from the dead, and they didn't know whether there was life after death or not. And here is what happened in large pockets of mainline Protestantism.


[00:06:53] These people lost all hope for heaven, and they began to look for ways in which they could cooperate with political radicals in establishing a heaven on earth. I'm serious. And many of them began to look to the Soviet Union as run by Joseph Stalin as a prophetic vision of the future of humankind as human beings could bring it about. Joseph Stalin actually set up a couple of phony cities in which it appeared that everybody was prosperous, everybody was happy. When the concentration camps were just around the next turn in the road. And many of these American Protestant liberal preachers and denominational leaders would be channeled over to Russia, the Soviet Union, to visit these villages, and they would come back with great praise on their lips about how God was establishing his kingdom on Earth in the Soviet Union. Talk about. Now, let me find a non pejorative phrase here, because I'm on tape. Talk about knuckleheads, huh? Knuckleheads. And this has only gotten worse. These bad liberals who have messed up the mainline churches of America, Richard, Now John Neuhaus now calls them the sideline. Not the mainline. They've been shut at all because they're losing members. They're losing members. I remember a man who was an evangelical in the Disciples of Christ denomination, and he said, We're losing members so fast that all of our pastors have instructions that when the last member of their church dies, they put up a sign that says, Will the last member of this church please turn out the lights when he leaves? That's how bad the mainline churches have become. All right. Well, that's a little bit off the subject now. The Roman Catholic Church in America has historically been fairly conservative. Even all of the Roman Catholics who voted, understandably, for John F Kennedy in 1960.


[00:09:13] They did it because in addition to his being a Roman Catholic, they thought he was conservative. And compared to the Democrats we've had since John F Kennedy, he was pretty conservative. He lowered taxes and all of the rest. However, in the early 1950s, a marxist presence began to creep into the American Roman Catholic Church. And as I explained last week when we talked a little bit about liberation theology, many priests and nuns from the Americas, North, Central and South. Went to Europe and came back as Marxists of varying degrees of violence and persuasion. In the preface to the book Poverty and Wealth, I referred to a Roman Catholic bishops document in which almost to a person, those Roman Catholic bishops. This would have been, I think, during the 1960s, maybe the 1970s, made it clear that they were interested in identifying the Roman Catholic Church with Marxism and with socialism. I told you last week how a liberation theology swept through Central and South America and how briefly, at least in 1979, in the early 1980s, Pope John Paul, the second, resisted that Marxist presence. But then, as the decades moved by the Vatican's opposition to the leftist movement began to wax and wane. And with the pope being in his press enfeebled state, it's hard to see any additional. Well, as you know, all of their energies now are being directed towards pedophiles among the priesthood. Well, there's the Catholic religious left. Now, the evangelical religious left dates back to the late 1960s and the abortive run for presidency by George McGovern, who was clearly a very far left thinking individual. I guess before I go any further with that. I should draw your attention to the distinction in your book between the new left and the old left.


[00:11:35] Well, let me just say this. It's very hard to find any clear distinction between the old left and the new left. Other than my chapter, What chapter in chapter three? One reason why this chapter is so good is not me. I wish I could claim credit for that. But I had a student here, Ron Taber, who had gotten a Ph.D. in history from Washington State University and in the early seventies was a professor at Ithaca College in upstate New York. Ron has told me this story so he won't mind. He was a new left fanatic. He describes himself back then as a communist of sorts, and he helped lead radical movements on the campus of the college where he taught until he got fired. In those old days, the only people who got fired were communists. Today we find other grounds to do that. But back then you had to be a communist. Now, Ron Tabor underwent a major transformation in his thinking. He eventually became a born again Christian. He became a fire breathing conservative. If you just turn to page 32, here are 15 differences between the old left. That would be the old political liberalism and the radical new left. And the reason why you ought to know this difference is because many of the leaders of the religious left movement within evangelicalism came out of the new left movement. They weren't old fashioned liberals. They represented this new stripe of radicalism that we call the new left. Now, here are 15 of these points. And if anybody wants the full story, I guess they probably have to get this chapter or this book. Number one, the old left believed in forming alliances with liberals. The new left viewed liberals as the enemy.


[00:13:51] Now, that's hard to understand. See? You would think that Jim Wallis, who in my humble opinion, which is legal language, right? Yeah. Yeah, that's right. My lawyer approves of that. In my humble opinion, Jim Wallis was a fairly adequate representative of the new left. He didn't think the liberals were his allies. He viewed them as his enemy. But we won't mention Jim Wallis anymore in this minute or two. Secondly, the old left regarded workers as the revolutionary class. Oh, the new left regarded the revolutionary class to be the intellectual. That's our who's our Marxist friend that I. Graham. Graham. Yeah. That's Graham's key difference. Three The old left thought the workers were exploited. The new left thought the workers are alienated. That's Marku, sir. That's Tony Campolo. That kind of liberalism there. In my humble opinion, the old left believed in industrial socialism. The new left taught post-industrial socialism. I'm not sure I know what that means, but it sounds good. The old left. This is point five taught gradualism. Just going to move there slowly. The new left taught revolutionary change. We want to be there tomorrow at 9 a.m.. The old left. Believed in central planning and control the new left. This is an important difference toward decentralized decisions. Under the old left, this is point seven. The Liberals wanted to free others. The new left wanted to free them. The old left manifested a Soviet distortion of Marx that would be Leninism. The new left reflected a discovery of the real Marx. That's Marcuse. We've already. This great class has already made that clear. Hmm. Old left realism, new left utopianism. Man Number ten. The old left serves the people. The new left serves to live authentically. The old left. Number 11 work is necessary.


[00:16:17] The new left work can be abolished for the leaders. Everybody else works. And then they pay money. Number 12 The old left was intellectual. The new left anti-intellectual. Yeah. Postmodernism. Yeah. Hey, man, we got any around here? I'm looking under the table. Okay. Number 13 ideology. That's the old left. The new left. Everything is style. Style. So when you read I'm just picking a name out of the air. Sojourner, You get poetry in there. Little utopianism, maybe. All right, Number 14, the old left Vanguard is not an elitist. The new left is populist 15, the old left state capitalism. That's just old fashioned socialism and the new left anarcho socialism. They hate government. They hate government. Read that publication that I've named on a recent occasion. Well, then I go on and I talk about those 15 points in case anybody cares. That's the old left. Thank you for listening to this lecture. Brought to you by biblical training, dawg. Your prayers and financial support enable us to provide a biblical and theological education that all people around the world can access. Blessings. As you continue to study and live out your faith and as you grow in your relationship with the Lord.